Many people find it difficult to achieve a good work-life balance. A work-life balance is the idea of being able to juggle the demands of one’s life and prioritize your job (or ‘work life’) and your lifestyle (or ‘home life’) equally in order to develop a balance that works for your lifestyle.
Many people struggle to develop this work-life balance. In this technological age everyone as access to their emails and phones for work-related texts and/or emails after hours. This disrupts the work-life balance by allowing us to bring work home and never being able to fully disengage from our workplace demands.
It is important to have a strong work-life balance in order to give ourselves time to decompress and rejuvenate before our next day of work. Failure to do so can result in burnout, anxiety, lack of sleep (both do to technology and concern about work-related topics), and disconnect from our personal lives.
We’ve put together a list of 5 ways to help achieve a better work-life balance. These 5 tips will help to establish a stronger barrier between your work time and your home time in order to grant you the time and energy to have a complete balance in your life.
Achieving a Perfect Work-Life Balance
Know When to Quit
Many of us have this issue. We know we should head home from work for the day but if I can just send one more email or return one more phone call… In order to achieve a strong work-life balance you must know when to call it quits. Determine a time to end your work day each day so that it doesn’t carry over into your home life. If you say no more work after 6PM then stick to it. Set boundaries for yourself, give yourself an extra half hour than you think you need it for work but tell yourself that you won’t send any more emails or do any work after that time. In almost every instance it can wait until tomorrow, and your personal life doesn’t have to suffer.
Check out this email experiment The Muse conducted. Our work life interferes in our personal life and often times we don’t even know it. The best way to combat this is to be aware of the time we spend on work-related tasks and manage our personal time more effectively.
Find a Hobby
If you’re worried that you might not be able to avoid those emails or work calls on your phone or computer try to develop a hobby in your free time. A lot of times we check our phones because we’re bored (see experiment above) so picking up a hobby to keep your focus when you’re home at night is a good way to distract from wanting to do work-related tasks. Additionally, if you have trouble actually leaving the workplace on time each day try to find a hobby that requires a schedule. If you have to go somewhere during the week to do your hobby (for instance joining a sports team or a bowling league) you will force yourself to leave work on time in order to make that commitment.
If you want to start doing something like this but still have your career in mind (we know, baby steps) try a website such as edx.org. This website lets you take courses from some of the top Universities and Colleges around the world. Most of these courses are on a schedule so you will be required to do work and complete tests in a set amount of time (which will help manage your free time) but the courses you take can be related to your field so you are still learning skills that are relevant to your work life.
Make time for Friends & Family
Some of you may be reading this because one of your friends or family members has commented on the fact that you work too much and now you’d like to do something about that. That’s great! That’s the first step in developing a work-life balance. It’s important to set aside time for friends and family in order to cultivate those relationships and decompress from your day at work.
It is also a good idea to separate work friends and personal friends. While it is important to have work friends it is also equally as important to have friends outside of your industry. When going out with work friends it can be easy to fall into talking about your workplace or the field you work in, which does not help distance yourself from work during off hours. While having friends at work is important it is also important to have people you can talk about things that are completely separate from work in order to separate yourself mentally and physically from the workplace.
Shut Off the Phone/Computer
As stated above it’s important to avoid checking your phone or computer to respond to work emails, phone calls, or work on projects during your down time. This can be very difficult to do when at home but it is crucial to giving yourself time to relax and refresh during off-work hours.
If you’re someone who knows it is impossible not to check your phone you could try turning it off when you’re at home. And if you know you’ll end up on work/industry websites when surfing on your computer you can use one of these sites to block any site you’d like on your computer. This may seem like a drastic step to take but it is very important to have time to yourself outside of work. It is truly the only way to achieve a good work-life balance.
Take a Break
The last thing you can do to achieve that perfect work-life balance is know when to take a break. This means taking that lunch break each day instead of working through lunch AND taking proper vacations/time off of work to rejuvenate yourself and spend time away from your workplace.
You may be a person that thinks they don’t need a break or a vacation but everyone gets burnt out sooner or later, it’s important to avoid burnout and frustrations associated with work by taking the appropriate leave from the workplace. Even a few days away can make a large difference and put life into perspective. Dedicated time to relax and regroup is crucial to developing your work-life balance.
These 5 tips are designed to help you create a better work-life balance. Apply 1 or more of these tips to your life to help deal with the demands of work and home life and create a stronger work-life balance.